Pasta Alla Black Pepper with Sugar Snap Peas and Parmesan Cheese

I came upon a rather different pasta while perusing through the western edition of Sunset Magazine with a recipe from cookbook Six Seasons. A New Way with Vegetables by Joshua McFadden with Martha Holmberg. The dish is called Pasta Alla Gricia with Slivered Sugar Snap Peas Pasta Alla Gricia with Slivered Almonds and Sugar Snap Peas. This recipe caught my eye because I happened to have sugar snap peas at hand, and that too cut into slivers just as the recipe required, I also really like freshly ground black pepper and this pasta was loaded with black pepper. This really is a rather different kind of pasta dish.


The recipe was three-fold. First step was to fry the sausage or pancetta, second step was to make the sugar snap peas and pasta, and the third step was to make a black pepper and pecorino Parmesan butter. For those of you who are not vegetarian here is the link to the original recipe that has a good amount of sausage and pancetta as the flavor booster Pasta Alla Gricia with Slivered Almonds on  For a vegetarian version with a few quick and easy shortcuts here is my variation. If you like black pepper as much as I do, give this delicious pasta a try.


Vegetarian Pasta Alla Black Pepper with Blanched Sugar Snap Peas
5-6 large servings
Adapted from Six Seasons. A New Way with Vegetables by Joshua McFadden with Martha Holmberg. Pasta Alla Gricia with Slivered Almonds
with a few modifications and shortcuts


  • 1 lb spaghetti pasta
  • 1 1/2 lb sugar snap peas cut into thin slivers (I like to use a lot of vegetables in my pasta dishes)
  • 2 tbsp black pepper corns
  • 1 cup shredded pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 cup crumbled Parmesan Cheese
  • 6 cloves garlic finely cut into slices
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish
  • Salt
  • 4 tbsp  butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp toasted chopped almonds


  • Toast black pepper corns on a pan until the black pepper aroma is released – about 1-2 minutes. Set aside to cool.  Once cooled, in a spice mill grind the pepper into a coarse grind. Set aside.
  • Cook spaghetti according to package directions with plenty of salt and olive oil.  While the pasta is cooking, add to the pasta water sugar snap peas and cook together with the spaghetti.
  • Once pasta is cooked to your liking, save 2-4 cups pasta water and then drain pasta and the sugar snap peas. Set aside.


  • In a large pot melt 3 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp olive oil, add the ground black pepper and incorporate into the oil. Next add garlic and sauté until tender about 1 minute.
  • Add the garlic and black pepper butter to the pasta and sugar snap peas and mix togehter.


  • Next add the Parmesan cheese and Romano cheese plus 2 cups pasta water and toss together. The pasta should be moist and creamy, if it’s on the drier side, add additional pasta water to make moisten the dish. Once all the cheese is incorporated, pasta is ready.


  • Serve pasta garnished with extra black pepper, Parmesan shavings, some fresh basil leaves and toasted almonds.



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